A category-mistake in the classical labour theory of value

  • Ian Wright Open University
Keywords: classical political economy, labour theory of value, Ricardo, Marx, problem of an invariable measure, transformation problem

Abstract

The classical labour theory of value generates two well-known contradictions: Ricardo's problem of an invariable measure of value and Marx's transformation problem. I show that both contradictions derive from a category-mistake of supposing that technical costs and total costs are of the same logical type. This category-mistake is the underlying cause of the almost two hundred year history of the 'value controversy'. Once identified we can avoid the mistake, which reveals a more general labour theory of value with an invariable measure of value and without a trans- formation problem.

Author Biography

Ian Wright, Open University

Ian Wright is a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the Open University, UK. His main research interests are theories of economic value, classical macrodynamics and agent-based macroeconomics.

Published
2014-07-19
How to Cite
Wright, I. (2014). A category-mistake in the classical labour theory of value. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 7(1), 27-55. https://doi.org/10.23941/ejpe.v7i1.155
Section
Articles